Crocker’s dismissal sends shockwaves through league

Nicholas Mercer
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Team official cites ‘scoredboard’ as reason for decision

Former CeeBees' head coach Corey Crocker is shown here on the bench during recent NLSHL action.

Corey Crocker admitted today (Feb. 12) he was blindsided by a decision to terminate him as head coach of the CeeBee Stars.

When reached at his office in Amherst, Nova Scotia this morning, Crocker said he “did not see it coming.”

In what can only be described as a late season bombshell, the Stars parted ways Monday with Crocker, the team’s high-profile head coach and Harbour Grace native.

Crocker was told of his termination during a teleconference with two members of the team’s executive on Monday morning.

The shakeup caught the provincial sporting community off guard, and came just days before the club kicks off its Herder Memorial Trophy semifinal series with the No. 1 ranked Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts.

The Compass learned of Crocker’s release when contacted by a member of the executive, who does not normally speak publicly for the team, and asked not to be named.

When asked to explain the decision, he replied: “The scoreboard is the scoreboard. There’s no more to it than that.”

The CeeBees completed the season with a record of 7-15-1, and narrowly clinched the fourth and final playoff berth on the final weekend of the regular season.

The team was also hampered by some serious financial issues that resulted in some belt-tightening measures.

Despite the team’s less-than-stellar record, many felt it was not representative of the team’s potential, having lost many close battles throughout the season.

Others would argue the move did not come soon enough, as the team struggled through a five-game and a 10-game losing streak at separate times of the season.

“When you lose 10 games in a row, that’s half our season,” the team official stated.

Perhaps the biggest question surrounds the timing of the firing.

The CeeBees are winners of two straight, including a victory over the Cataracts on Feb. 3. Crocker was unavailable for both those games, and some in the organization felt the team responded better.

“We have to make a change and we have to move ahead,” the official added.

The move is not without precedent in hockey circles.

In the pro ranks, the New Jersey Devils fired coach Robbie Ftorek in 2000 with nine games remaining in the regular season. The Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

The CeeBees are no doubt hoping for a similar scenario.

 

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Despite being cast off by the team, Crocker believes the CeeBees can make some noise in the playoffs, noting the team is “built to win.”

And Crocker said he will always be a CeeBee.

“I grew up wearing the red, white and blue as a kid and I was a big part of the team coming back there,” he said.

Crocker came on board in December 2011 after then-coach Steve Power was let go after the team posted just three wins in its first 12 games of the first season of the provincewide league.

Under Crocker’s guidance, the team went six and six down the stretch and gained a berth in the playoffs, only to lose to Clarenville in Round 1.

It is assumed that assistants Peter George and Ian Moores will handle coaching duties the rest of the way.

George, the team’s spokesman for most of the season, was not available for comment.

Moores confirmed when contacted Tuesday that he would continue his coaching duties, if his services were required.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: CeeBee Stars, The Compass, New Jersey Devils

Geographic location: Amherst, Nova Scotia, Clarenville

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Recent comments

  • Ronnie coleman
    February 23, 2013 - 10:43

    This whole team is a joke ! No wonder the attendance has been down, along with the lack of support from local sponsors. Who wants to have their business or name associated with this group, The majororty of this teams players attiudes on and off the ice are the cause of their own demise. As the saying goes "id like to have you for what your worth,and sell you for what you think your worth"

  • barry
    February 13, 2013 - 19:51

    Ian Moores is a well established and respected coach. He has a World Jr. Ballhockey championship and a Sr. Mens National Ball Hockey championship under his belt. He is well regarded in hockey circles, and seems to get the best out of his players. Nothing to say negative about Mr. Crocker, but it must have been hard for him to coach without being at practices and seeing what the guys were like and who gelled with who, etc, I feel bad for Mr. Crocker, and I don't feel this is a Mr. Crocker vs. Mr. Moores thing. The CeeBees seem to be peaking at the right time before playoffs and I hope this doesn't bring them down.

  • The Fort Motel
    February 13, 2013 - 06:00

    this is laughable, but not uncommon coming out of CBN. If your last name is Moores, it has to be all about 'you', and Ian you are in the spotlight again. If you go out and lose 4 straight to the Cataracts, which is highly possible, will you be let go? You already stepped down once, twice......had your name and picture in the paper, now you are going to the playoffs, agreed to let your buddy go and are ready to move back in to the spotlight. Never heard a sound from you when things were bad, stayed back in the shadows. Its been buddy buddy out there for years, and it continues. Crocker was being flowin in no doubt, but on a sponsors air miles. Cost the team nothing, the players weren't responding to him, no doubt, but to let him go after the last game of the season...........a very gutless move.

  • tom
    February 13, 2013 - 02:06

    This league still exists? Wow.

  • B
    February 12, 2013 - 15:37

    How can you have a team in Harbour Grace NL and a coach in Nova Scotia? How about a coach within an hours drive of the team? Wouldn't that be a sensible move and a money saver?

  • Jimmy
    February 12, 2013 - 12:08

    Peter George lol